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Online business reviews can make or break your business. Places like Yelp, that house online business reviews, are feared by business owners all over the world. That’s because many people who are posting online business reviews are people who had a negative experience with that business.
Likewise, more and more online business reviews are fake. Although illegal, business owners can pay people to write glowing online business reviews for their companies, which is pretty unfair for those of us who strictly rely on feedback from actual customers.
So, since online business reviews can sometimes be unfair, a lot of photographers have taken to either not responding to any of them, or only responding to the negative ones. Both of these options are bad and I’m going to show you the benefits of responding to online reviews in this article.
To Show That Every Customer is Important to You
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When you only respond to negative online business reviews, you are subconsciously telling the people who posted positive online business reviews of your business that their time is not as important.
Think about it. The only reason someone would take time out of their day to post positive online business reviews is if they truly loved your business. There’s nothing in it for them. They are only doing so for your benefit.
Then, someone who had a bad experience with your business comes along and posts a negative review because they want to vent. This is mostly for their benefit.
If you’re only responding to negative online business reviews, you are telling your happy customers, who will likely continue working with you in the future and will likely recommend you to their friends and family, that the time they took to post about your business is not appreciated. The importance of responding to reviews, all reviews, is that you’re telling each customer that you value their time, even if they don’t value yours.
To Build Trust
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If you rarely or never look at your online business reviews, you are neglecting a huge part of your marketing strategy.
One bad review has the capability to lose a business over 20% of its new customer base. This means that if your business’ Yelp page is filled with only one-sided negative online business reviews, because you aren’t responding to them, you are actively losing money.
By responding to these reviews, you make your business look more responsive, which in turn builds trust between you and potential clients.
Importantly, when you understand that you did something wrong, acknowledge it. In order for your business to look trustworthy, sometimes you need to admit what you did wrong and how you are ensuring it won’t happen again.
To Find New Customers
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Whether it’s fair or not, people trust online business reviews. In fact, according to one study, 76% of consumers trust online business reviews in the same way that they trust recommendations from friends and family.
This number remains pretty steady across different demographics, which means whether you’re a wedding photographer, a portrait photographer, or a wildlife photographer, your clients are reading your reviews.
If your negative reviews are going unanswered, this is going to seriously damage your chances of gaining new clients through Yelp.
If you aren’t asking old clients for positive reviews, this is also going to seriously damage your chances of getting new clients through Yelp.
Essentially, Yelp, and other tools like it, can provide an excellent chance for you to find new customers if you use it correctly. If you choose not to use it, or you use it incorrectly, then it can also seriously hurt your business.
How to Respond to Reviews
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Now that you understand the importance of responding to online reviews, the good, bad, and the ugly, your next obstacle is figuring out how to keep up with this task. As your business grows, you are going to start getting more and more reviews and it can seem overwhelming to respond to all of them, especially for a small business owner who is already tasked with dozens of things everyday.
This is one of the reasons I started using Podium. Podium bills itself as “the ultimate messaging platform.” It essentially pulls all of your communications, from emails to text messages to all of your business reviews, and puts it in one platform. This way, you don’t have to spend all day checking Gmail, then Facebook, then Yelp, then your texts and back again.
It makes responding to reviews super easy because you never have to go insearch of reviews. You get a notification every time a review is posted so you can respond to that review on the spot.
Of course, Podium has more uses than just helping you respond to reviews. For instance, it also allows you to collect payment more quickly because you can send invoices directly through text to your clients. Plus, it tracks how long it takes you to respond to leads from potential clients, which means you will always have the leg up on your competition.
If any of this sounds helpful, Podium is currently running a free trial which allows you to try out all of the features of the app before buying anything.
You can sign up for this free trial here.